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Issue: #55
September 2015
In This Issue

Mission of the PRA

The Mission of the Pensacola Runners Association is to promote, support and develop running and racing along the northern Gulf Coast. Our objective is to provide information, education, training, social and sporting events for competitive and non- competitive runners and walkers of all ages, races, genders and abilities.


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From The Top
By Eric Miller   

Happy September, Folks!

We have an exciting few months coming up at the Pensacola Runners Association. On October 9th, you will begin to see the registration dollars you've spent on Pensacola Runners Association races at work with the launch of our weekly group interval program. Each Monday at 6:00 PM, current PRA members will have the opportunity to gather at the University of West Florida track for a free interval workout overseen by UWF Cross Country Coach Caleb Carmichael.

Each day, most runners head out the door asking, "What can I do to get the most out of my training?" There are millions of pages of literature available on the science behind running. However, the almost universal weekly formula followed by top runners is really quite simple: one long run, one to three speed or tempo workouts and recovery runs filling in the gaps.

Many runners associate the progression of their fitness with the distance of their runs and, therefore, tend to naturally include recovery runs and long runs in their routines. Through this program, we want to provide our members with the chance to incorporate those final elements of speed and tempo workouts into their training in a group setting with professional guidance and supervision.

So come out to UWF on October 9th, work out with some fellow runners and learn how to take your running to the next level with an NCAA cross country coach!

Until then, keep training!

Eric Miller

**Due to unforeseen circumstances surrounding our originally announced and previously secured venue, Washington High School, the weekly interval workouts will take place on the track, hills, trails and fields of the University of West Florida! Please watch your emails and the Pensacola Runners Association Facebook Page [] for final details as the date approaches!


Don Announcing

Details are HERE

Catching Up With........
Erika Smith(Marek)

If you were involved in the running and walking community in Northwest Florida in the last decade, it's likely that you knew and remember Erika Smith. She was an accomplished runner, had a great smile and personality and was an integral member of several running clubs. She was a fixture at most of the local races and distinguished herself at many out-of-time events.

Her running resume' includes what she considers her biggest athletic accomplishment, running Rim To Rim at the Grand Canyon. This grueling endeavor involves narrow trails, obstacles, lots of altitude gain (and loss) and over 20 miles of tough terrain. She finished that feat in 8 hours and 10 minutes. She's also proud of running the Country Music  Marathon in 3:40 (qualifying for the Boston Marathon which she finished in 3:51), finishing the Seaside Half Marathon in 1:41 and racing the Oak Mountain 50K (31 miles) six years in a row. She also has  finished the Pineland Farms 50 mile, the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile, the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile and the Pine Mountain 40 mile ultra-marathon runs.

Rim To Rim At The Grand Canyon

Her favorite races are The Bay To Breakfast, The Pensacola Beach Run Half-marathon and the legendary Fight To The Fort race in 2009.

Erika was/is a person with serious academic and professional credentials with a bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech and two Master's degrees (from Auburn and UWF respectively). She worked as a therapist at the Lakeview Center and started the Run For Their Lives 5K race in 2008 on Pensacola Beach to benefit the Rape Crisis/Trauma Recovery program.  That race has now enjoyed 8 years of success bringing funds and awareness to this serious issue.

Dr. Smith-Marek At Her Practice

She moved to Manhattan, Kansas in 2013 to pursue her PhD from Kansas State which she accomplished earlier this year. She then moved back to Pensacola and has established her practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist also working in the trauma and post traumatic stress disorder areas. She got married to Jon Marek and is now Dr. Erika Smith-Marek.

Erika, Jon And Curtis

Although she seriously cut her foot the day before her marriage (and had surgery the day after), Erika is back to running, spinning, yoga and lifting weights. She and Jon enjoy running, the beach and getting Curtis, their dog, out for a walk now and then. 

You'll see Erika running around the Pensacola area - make sure to stop and catch up!

PRA Members' Discount
At Volition America Half-marathon/5K

The Volition America Half-marathon and 5K race is coming to Northwest Florida on December 5th and the Pensacola Runners Association has worked with race organizers to secure an outstanding 20% discount for those of you who have not signed up yet.


The race(s) are designed to wind through the historic and scenic sections of downtown Pensacola and they benefit the children of service members who were killed in action by providing some serious scholarship funds for them. SO, you can save some bucks, contribute to a worthy cause and run your choice of two great courses.

and get all the details. When you decide which race you'll be running, enter this discount code "PRA2015" at checkout and join your fellow runners!

Running Makes You Smarter

by Corey Dell
PRA Board of Directors 
Would you believe me if I told you that running makes you smarter?  Well, it's partially true.  Daily exercise can help with weight management, stress management and helps build stronger muscles.  It can also help improve learning and mental performance preventing dementia, Alzheimer's, and  brain aging.
More vigorous intensity aerobic exercise, like running for 30 minutes, led to faster reaction times and vocabulary learning.  Even just 75 minutes per week was enough to increase attention span.

Kids who exercise tend to get better grades, have better concentration, and even get a better night's sleep.
So with the cooler weather, grab your kids and play around outside.  Fall is upon us, one of my favorite times to run!!  

Until next time, Happy Running!!

Corey Dell 

The D
ouble Bridge Run Is On The Horizon

The Double Bridge Run, presented by Publix, is a marquee event in the Pensacola area and is quickly becoming one of the premier 15K races in the entire country. With a course that starts downtown and ends at the beach, you get a full taste of just how beautiful the Pensacola scenery is.     
DBR 15K Start
Next year's race will be held on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 7:00 AM. Registration for the race is already open for a price of $45. The entry fee will increase as the race gets closer.
  There is also a 5K race and the entry fee starts at $33. The race expo, packet pick-up, and late registration will be held at the Gulf Breeze Recreation Center on Thursday, February 11, 2016 and Friday, February 12, 2016. For more information, please go

DBR Champion Tyler McCandless

  Pensacola Marathon Coming Up

The 11th annual Pensacola Marathon, presented by Publix, is held on Veteran's Day Weekend each year. This year's race is Sunday, November 8, at 6 AM. The marathon course starts and finishes at Veterans' Memorial Park, and takes you through historic downtown Pensacola.

Participants will have the option of running the marathon, the marathon relay, the half marathon or a new 5k course that has been added to the race. The Subway Kids' Marathon participants will run the last 1.2 miles and complete the 26.2 mile race.

The race expo, Packet Pick-up, and late registration will be held at the Crowne Plaza Grand Hotel on Friday, November 6, 2015 and Saturday, November 7, 2015. For more information, please click
Pensacola Marathon website   or go to . 
Why Tri?

by Stan Adams  

Why  would one want to TRI? Many do it because of the challenge of doing all three disciplines and the transitions better than others. I've observed that not many can podium at their first TRI so they set out to improve  their  skills and time.

The best gains are achieved through working on your worst skill. Mine was clearly the swim. Coach Grace moved me from panting after 2 laps to a mile swim over one summer. I have found this swim weakness to be true for most new triathletes.

Stan Adams At The Tour De Cure

I recommend one of the many coaches in the area, like Coach John at Team MPI, for this. I am also a pretty fair swim coach and enjoy working with people on Sunday mornings at Mere Mortals. There are many of us there who are able and willing to help with your stroke or your distance, but the pool and drills to improve form under a coach is a critical element to swimming well.

Triathlon incorporates the challenges of open water swimming in almost every triathlon (I know of one exception). We work on these at Mere Mortals too. Knowing where to position yourself at the start with respect to others and to how to read the current and sight the buoys are skills which you can learn and master.
The PRA Is Looking  
 For Volunteers (AGAIN......ALWAYS)!

The Pensacola Runners Association is a not-for-profit organization that is 100% volunteer driven. None of our members are compensated for all the hours that are put in organizing and holding our events and helping out at MANY other events across Northwest Florida throughout the year.
PRA Waterstop Volunteers
If you are interested in volunteering or in becoming a Race Director, please email PRA President-elect Eric Miller at  Thanks very much!!